Inevitably, there comes the time that we must say good-by to our students (see my article Saying Good-bye to be published 6-2-14). As arts educators, these are not just our student artists; these are our children, our extended family, our artistic legacy. Art is so personal, and each time we share it with a child, we give a part of our heart, our being, and our love to that child as well. Over the course of multiple years we are privileged with seeing growth, creativity, and advancement of these student artists. However, those beyond our personal communities, may never see their greatness. So, how do we share their artistry with the world, and moreover, how do we prepare our children to be marketable in their digital age, their global future, and their lives beyond our studio walls?
One way we can help our student artists to market themselves in this digital age is through the use of e-portfolios.
When I began my dance program over a decade ago, the digital world was just beginning to surface, and a portfolio was just a folder full of papers. I required my student artists to maintain a large portfolio containing all of their work. It included everything they had done over their four years in the program including terminology, history, and anatomy assignments and assessments, lighting design, costume design and composition projects, even DVDs of their choreography, resumes, and headshots. However, in today’s electronic society, all of this can be produced on personal websites.
During junior year, my student artists begin building their e-portfolios, a website designed to market their talents, abilities, accomplishments, and skills. Through weebly.com students can produce a website that can be attached to any audition, scholarship, college application, or internship request. Not to mention, it is a living, breathing, entity in cyberspace lasting forever and completely revisable.
Their personal websites become something they are proud of, something they want to share, and something that will market their futures. I encourage students to add all academic adventures into their site, not just their dance accomplishments. This is a great way to centralize all of their accomplishments, as well as have a digital “go to” place to document their future successes.
Encourage your student artists to do the same, or better yet, make it an assignment!
Piquès & Pirouettès
Next Week: Teacher Talk
Embedding Technology in the Dance Studio
Although our technology allows for great opportunities and a world of information at our fingertips, we as dancers must remember that dance is build on the human experience, something that is all too often missing in our cyber-age.
Typhani Harris is a dance educator and mentor teacher who has been on the boards of both the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (CAHPERD) and California Dance Education Association (CDEA). Recently, she has made a cross-country move and is now an instructional coach in Brooklyn, New York. Having begun as a high school English teacher, it has been her mission to bring theory and research into the traditional dance class, and in 2009 she won the Music Center’s Bravo award for excellence in Arts Education. Typhani is currently on a mission to help teachers Stop Teaching and Start Reaching their students, check out the unTeacher Lab at stopteaching.org